tv Charlie Rose PBS May 2, 2014 12:00am-1:01am PDT
>> charlie: welcome to the program. tonight we look at events in egypt and the prospect for a new election with nabil fahmy, the foreign minister. >> we are a pluralistic society. i want a society that is pluralistic, especially in politics. that's what i want to be. that's sort of the academic explanation of it. simplistic or the more defined, i want a democracy where my children and grandchildren can differ and come out and work together. i don't want a democracy that only reflects my experience. i want to include islammists and i will insist them not to exclude me at the same time. i want to be able to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and to respond to the challenge and the embarrassment
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: nabil fahmy is here. he has been egypt's foreign minister since 2013. he is a career diplomat from 1999 to 2008 was his country's ambassador to the united states. met with high level officials such as secretary kerry, chuck kagle and susan rice. he seeks to repair the egypt-american alliance that has gone adrift in the past few years and the mass sentence to muslim brotherhood monday further strained the
relationship. el-sisi declared candidacy after three years of war to restore after the turmoil. welcome. >> thank you. >> charlie: what have you accomplished? >> essentially to do two things, one is to try to redirect our relations towards building a better future together because these are indispensable relations for us, and our goals and our objectives, and i believe they are indispensable for the u.s., for your interests in the middle east. secondly, frankly, the transformations in egypt have ups and downs and i believe the ups are more than the downs. in this kind of process, there are always different things needed to be explained face to face, and i felt it was important, occasions like this program, for example, to come out for the people that you're interested in to talk to you
directly and to get a sense of whether you're sincere in doing this or not. i went all over washington and i heard the concerns raised, among them the issue you raised, but i also heard and a extremely wide-ranging level of support and desire from americans that we succeed. so i think it was useful, and i will always recommend to any egyptian to repeatedly come up to washington to engage in the administration, congress, media, the civil society, and that's what i did. >> charlie: what's the status of u.s. aid to egypt? >> u.s. aid nominally is still at the levels as it has been in the past and the projection next year is the same. there was a freeze on the delivery of ten apaches, that's been removed. >> charlie: they will be delivered soon? >> yes, those will be delivered
soon. there was a release of $650 million to pay military -- mostly military contracts here for equipment that's going to be delivered in egypt, implementation of the 2014-2015 budget. i still believe that's on track as well. and consequently, there is, then, the other half of the budget, a little bit over $700 million, that remains frozen, waiting for secretary kerry. >> charlie: i want to hear the update of that. you mentioned ups and downs. how would you define the ups and downs? >> sure. i'm talking about ups and downs in egypt rather than the relationship. >> charlie: i understood. that's why i asked. >> look, let me talk about something you know because you,
frankly, interviewed most of them. from 1952 -- you're not that old -- but in 1952 until 2011 -- >> charlie: i was alive in '52. >> i know. 50 years, we've had four presidents. to the end of this year, four presidents. >> charlie: in egypt? in egypt. that's just one indication of the amount of change that's occurring in society. more importantly, society is trying to define its political identity. the flag. then the secular islamists and so forth provided the flag first, then politics aside and that they all agree that others are on that flag as well. so we will have an election for president in may and then
election for parliament by the end of summer. as we do that, society has to breathe pluralism. we are a pluralistic society searching for pluralistic ethics. this is not a civics lesson. it's revolution. we have been good at revolutions recently but haven't done the evolutionary process. so we will stumble. as a government official, i will tell you, we issued a demonstration law. the president threw it back at us. so we corrected it again. the public debated it, challenged us on it, we corrected it a third time and issued it. some didn't like it anyway. the same applies with how do demonstrators decide you can demonstrate all you want but you need to allow others to go on with their day-to-day life.
they have to define how to do that. and how does the police. okay, you can control demonstrators, but it has to be proportionate with the reactions of the demonstrators. so all are new capacities. the same applies to administration within government. civil society has to understand you have to be idealist but practical in your short-term objectives. the same -- another example, one of your friends participated in that. we put together an excellent constitution, extremely live on civil liberties and sorts. tremendous. it's been applauded by westerners and easterners, over the world. there have been criticisms on different issues but not civil liberties. that being said, once we have a parliament, we're going to have to change some of our laws, add new laws and you will have the political debate about all of that. >> charlie: at the core of the
protest that seems to be coming from washington and in the editorial pages of america's newspapers who write about foreign policy, obviously, is the fact that there seems to be an unnecessary crackdown on the muslim brotherhood with short trip in trials and sentences to death first of over 500, then over 600, and that seems all the way to the top of this government in terms of what the president has said against what's necessary to develop good relationships between egypt and the united states, even including sentencing to death of the spiritual leader of the muslim brotherhood. most people don't know why that is necessary and isn't it going to too far?
and is it constitution? >> let me start by responding on whether it's actually true or not, and then is it too far. for five months after the revolution in 2013, the muslim brotherhood was not considered to be a terrorist organization. we reached out, we tried to find somebody there who would be ready to engage politically based on an inclusive constitution and in a non-violent fashion. five months. >> charlie: five months after. after june 30, 2013. when the people withdrew morsi. yes, five months up until late november, early december, they were not considered to be terrorist. we tried everything we could.
pressure was put by public opinion on the government. you can't allow violence. and the organization is not an egyptian novelty. you have it in spain, in ireland, in germany, in italy. that's the first point. the response here is to violence, primarily. secondly, what's declared terrorism or a terrorist organization is the organization itself. our present president has said that, according to our constitution, any egyptian who is not found guilty of a crime and is ready to work according to constitution peacefully still has a role in politics. that has not been taken away from them. but no egyptian, be that an
islamist, and the brotherhood is not the only one, the brotherhood or someone like me who is more towards a secularist, and if i decide i'm not going to work beyond the constitution or want to be b beyond it, i don't have a role in politics. we have a challenge to come together. the next president will have that challenge. but i don't really believe that the government is reacting to a political issue. it's reacting to violence. >> charlie: you really believe that? >> i really do. >> charlie: now, this extreme measure, taking that step of sentencing all these people to death is the best way to get egypt both safe and on the right track to democracy? >> well, that was the second point i was going to clarify. first of all, we have absolutely no authority on the courts. >> charlie: we being? government. >> charlie: this is all about
the judiciary. >> they decide from point one, from a to z. but let me clarify. what happened in one of the cases, one, the judge asked the senior islamic clergy, can i apply the death sentence to these 520 people? and it actually only applies to 140. but it's a large number. the response was you can only apply it to those who are directly incrimenated in the act of murder. and the court -- the judge, then -- or the court only found guilty 37 of them. immediately the day after that happened, immediately, the attorney general who had sent the case to the court said i have problems with due process here. it was not sufficient. i'm appealing the case.
the same office that sent the case to the court said they were not comfortable with due process and, therefore, they themselves were challenged. we didn't challenge it. the accused didn't challenge it. the attorney general challenged it, and they're going to have their appeal process because there was murder -- >> charlie: the prosecutor says i'm not happy with the sentence that the judge -- >> no. he said i'm not happy with the due process. these defendants were not given due process and, therefore, i have a problem with the verdict and, therefore, i'm going to appeal it to a different court. the example here, it may end up with ten, five, more or less, i don't know the numbers, but the judicial system is reviewing the case itself. the only point where the court
can intervene is after the appeal process is complete. >> charlie: this sounds awfully legalistic to me. clearly, if you need to stabilize egypt, if you need to get on the road to recovery across the board, this seems like such a counter-constructive way to go, and the world's -- across the world, people are saying, this didn't even happen under mubarak. >> to take the discussion to an even higher level, what i explained was the fact on one particular case just to show that there is a review process within -- >> charlie: but do you think it's likely that they will overturn these -- >> they already have overturned from 140 to 37 -- actually, from 520 to 37. now they're looking at the rest. don't forget, however, these
people were accused of killing people, and there was evidence of that. >> charlie: every one of them? we'll see how many end up being convicted. >> charlie: but, i mean, for the prosecutor to be concerned about due process, this is remarkable to me. >> why? not that the prosecutor is concerned about due process, but with so much at stake here in terms of rebuilding, even taken after the april 6th movement, which we always thought they were the good guys here -- >> i'll get to that. i'm trying to make a point but i'll get to that. >> charlie: is part of what you're doing here not just on the program but with the secretary of state is to explain to them exactly what you're trying to explain to me? do they understand, because there is -- >> i feel the concern, and i follow it internationally. i'm not questioning that it's out there. what i'm trying to do is explain
the facts and that there is a process to review what we do as we do it, while respecting the independence of each of our different branches. we cannot interfere in the judiciary until it finishes its process without destroying the tenant of democracy which is the independence of the judiciary. the president can decide whether or not to give clemency but only after the process is over. >> charlie: so he'll have the opportunity to give clemensy if the appeal process doesn't change the verdict and the sentence. >> he can and correct if he's not comfortable with any phase. but the next question, our next president is going to face a tremendously complex task. we're still going to through the transformation process of finding out who we are and will
always have ups and downs but more importantly he will have to preserve and ensure security. there's no way we can create tolerance and a good economy without dealing with security. >> charlie: that's what people always say when people are cracking down. it's always about security. we have to create security. that's the reason we have to have martial law. that's the reason we have to set up these kinds of exnr things. >> i never said anything. three challenges, i was going to the fourth. >> charlie: we understand what we have been going through, we understand the trial we face and how this looks at the world but you have to understand we're trying to create a new egypt and what we're saying that we and maybe the judiciary went too far here but there's a process to overturn that, but the world has
to understand what we're up against and what we're trying to do and, therefore, we're investigate take these measure -- having to take these measurers? >> we have to face the challenges. not to take measurers as if they were exceptional. we have to deal with serious challenges in including 100 people getting killed. churches getting burned. you tend to look at the narrative at the end result. the next president will have to ensure security. people won't tolerate each other if they hate each other. you have to have security and create a political space so they can come together to create an economy. >> charlie: after the army supported what was going on in the street or initiated it, how
much dialogue was there with the muslim brotherhood, to say we have to figure out a way to create a dialogue because you represent a significant portion of the population in this country. what is it, 20%? >> probably less but it's significant. >> charlie: right. did that happen or did all of a sudden you say all you guys are criminals and you committed these crimes and we're going to bring you to court and after a couple of days, you know, we're going to declare our verdict and sentence you to death. >> actually, it was the exact opposite. >> charlie: on both cases, both the 500 and the 600? >> the question, in 2011, after president mubarak was removed
from office, the military high council took charge of the country. they then engaged the political powers, particularly the brotherhood in how to move forward with security and they called for elections before establishing a constitution which was a major mistake. the muslim brotherhood and the islamists won the majority and president morsi was elected. so he was elected without a constitution, and he was in office for a year. very few months after he was in office, he decided to issue a declaration that he's above the law. and then the people went out telling him, just call for early elections. you can't exclude other members of our society. so the debate and the opportunities of the brotherhood was given the to them openly, even before anybody else in
2011. the argument was in 2013 with the brotherhood, not at the beginning. he wanted only to accept those who believed. it's about egypt's identity. this is a quest for defining egypt's identity. i'm ready to have anen identity that includes islam. >> charlie: these are the reasons the military stepped in and overthrew him because you thought he was ruling by and he wanted a policy of not of inclusion but exclusion. >> after 2013, yes, for five months, from june 2013, end of june, as i said till november and december. individually, some of them were arrested. >> charlie: who decides who's a terrorist organization? >> the government. >> charlie: you decided after five months they are a defer to organization? we didn't consider them before. they were part of the government
before. they've been part of the mubarak machine but we decide since they're a terrorist organization we'll go after them. >> not all of a sudden. with a compendium of violence and incitement and court cases that were piling up and a suggestion of any serious dialogue to move forward. what is the red brigade? what is the red army? what do you consider at one point i.r.a. >> charlie: depends on what country you're talking about. >> did we make up this process? you did it in america. i was here in america on 9/11. it was a terrorist attack. you reacted with dealing with this exceptional circumstance. countries do that when threatened by terror. we waited and waited, then we
did that. but i'm telling you again what our president said and what our next president will have to say. >> charlie: we kind of know who he might be. >> i don't think anybody's a show-in depending on how many people vote. looking at the polls, the president said this, if you don't have a crime on your hands, you want to accept a constitution, off role of politics in the future. >> charlie: i read somewhere the following and you may have said it that general el-sisi is eminently aware that absolute power corrupts and people around him remind him of that. >> it wasn't my comment. nevertheless, i think the field marshal is going to face a tremendous challenge that once you're a civilian president living among civilians like you and me outside of a disciplined paradigm like the military with so many different stakeholders, it's a different ball game, and
he has, i believe, from my experience with him in the cabinet, a strong commitment to egypt, a strategic outlook to things, but he's going to face some very, very interesting and challenging times and he's going to have to, again, all at the same time so there's no misunderstanding, provide security quickly, create room for political tolerance, start up the economy and respond to a magnitude of situations -- >> charlie: that's what a lot of people are saying and they hear you say that. the president of the united states said we have to be very careful about being seen as aiding and abetting actions we think run contrary to our values and our ideals. that's from the president talking about the situation in egypt. >> and i don't agree with it. my responsibility, my commitment, which is consistent, by the way, with your president's values and your
values, is to create a democracy in egypt for egyptians. that's my commitment to the young kids -- >> charlie: it's up to the egyptians to do that. >> and we will do our best. that's the narrative, and i started off at the beginning and it raised a question from you. realistically speaking, i lived here in the '60s. how long was that after your founding fathers put together your initial documents? i'm not asking j that long. i'm just saying this is a transition. it takes time. >> charlie: i've read and you've made that point before, it is not easy to create a democracy and make sure human rights extends to all your citizens. >> but i'm committed to doing this. >> charlie: it's taken longer than is acceptable for our country. i'm sure you heard this from the secretary, there's a genuine concern about this, what's going on over there, and i hear what
you're saying that they in the judiciary, people have questioned due process and are waiting for the right of appeal which is underway. >> mm-hmm. >> charlie: there is also this, in terms of what is egypt becoming? what is it that you want to become? how will the new egypt be different from mubarak's egypt? >> great question, as usual. we are a pluralistic society. i want to be a society that also has pluralistic ethics, especially in politics. that's what i want to be. that's sort of the academic explanation of it. the more defined, i want a democracy where my children and my grandchildren can differ and come out and work together. i don't want a democracy that only reflects my experience, i want to include islamists and i will insist not to allow
islamists to exclude me at the same time. i want to be able to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor and to respond to the challenge and the embarrassment of having 30% literacy in my country after all these years. >> charlie: 45% of egyptians live on $2 a day. >> so it's a tremendous challenge. we need to build the country and the commitment is there. i would add to that -- and this is sort of my burden in particular -- as we try to do all of this as egyptians, and that's also part of my responsibility, i have to deal with a regional situation that's completely on fire. the western border, turmoil in libya, the situation in the sudan is problematic, eastward, the palestinian-israeli conflict has not progressed, then syria and you go down and have
sectarianism and so forth. all of this, and the emergence of terrorists and extremist groups in the region in high numbers is an extremely alarming issue, but i can't simply say it's too difficult. i can't use them, and i'm not, charlie, and you know where i am on this, i can't say i have an excuse not to give it the best effort. but because i know your system, my approach is, if i feel you're not getting the whole message, i'm going to come explain it. if you don't want to listen to me, i'm just going to tell you what i want to do, because i believe we share the common goal at the end of the day. >> charlie: but this is the largest mass sentencing i think in egypt's history according to what i read. >> i assume so, but it hasn't actually happened. it hasn't happened. i mean -- >> charlie: they wanted to use the word death sentence.
>> they asked before their opinion, can i apply the death sentence to these 500 -- >> charlie: he said? he said you can only apply it to those directly incrimenated in the act of murder. >> charlie: how many of those? the court then decided 37. so the attorney general appealed it. >> charlie: okay. so what they end up with, we'll see. but it shows you that -- >> charlie: at max, will it be 37? >> i would assume so. >> charlie: the spu spiritual leader of the muslim brotherhood is accused of murder? >> well, again, look, i can't get into the details of the evidence in each of these cases. i don't know what the details are, but he has been accused of several crimes. we will see what the evidence ultimately determines. whether he is the spiritual leader or not, to not give him amnesty or immunity from the law. at the same time it's not a reason to incriminate --
>> charlie: and he has a certain level of respect within his own community. >> sure, but the evidence has to be there. >> charlie: okay. from el-sisi has been to russiaa number of times to speak with putin. is that creating a new relationship with putin and russia? >> i don't want to appear to be pompous, but when i was last here on your show during general assembly, i went out in front of the general assembly and said, look, i'm going to diversify my friends. >> charlie: because you don't believe you can depend on the united states? >> because i believe that, for egypt to grow stronger and better, we need to have more friends. when i went to moscow, before the marshal, i said in moscow this friendship is not at the expense of america. >> charlie: and do the americans accept that? >> i think they do because i
think they understand the depth of our cooperation. when you're looking at military aid, i decide to buy an f-16 or whatever the number is, now, that's a project that i think about in terms of what airports and airfield i'm going to build now for a plane i'll buy in five years if not ten years. if i can't depend on you ten years from now, i won't build that airport, i can't look at that airplane. so cooperation can't be based on the politics of the day, it has to be based on the nature of the relationship. >> charlie: can i translate that by saying we think vladimir putin will be there in russia and we can depend on him but we don't think we can depend on the united states because to have the change in the political -- because there is an effort in the senate by leading senators to change the amount of aid that goes to egypt. >> what we do with russia will
not reflect -- well, let me restart that. we have never actually stopped buying weapons from russia in different areas, and you know that. secondly, my answer to your question is, no, i'm looking for better opportunities for egypt. i'm not looking to replace america by russia. with all due respect, president putin and russia will have to prove themselves over time to be sustainable partners -- >> charlie: and, actually, that goes both ways. right, exactly, and we'll continue to work on it. but if you decide you don't want to help me fight terrorism, what do you think i'm going to do? >> charlie: i assume you're saying that we have to be -- we have to protect our own country and, therefore, we have to have other people that we can look to if, for some reason, america doesn't want to help us?
>> yes, but i don't think it's as stark as that. i'm just saying we would do what you would do in defending our country, nothing less or more. >> charlie: you're getting a lot of aid from saudi arabia and the emirates, financial aid, who have stepped up and said we like the change we see in egypt and we'll support them. >> mm-hmm. >> charlie: and it's fair to look at the historical record and say those two, especially the saudis, were very unhappy about what happened to president mubarak in the way it was handled by the united states? everybody sort of acknowledged that, haven't they? >> yes, and i would simply add one point, both these two countries are very close friends with america as well. so -- >> charlie: through that. yes, and still are friends with america and have strong relations especially in the military part of it.
what they're doing, even when they differ with america on some points, specifically in america, doesn't mean they're not strategically friends with america and therefore our cooperation with them which has nothing to do with america if not at the expense of america. >> charlie: you say to america, trust us? >> i know you're upset. i know, frankly, some of the information you don't want to digest or you don't -- >> charlie: so you think at the highest levels of our government, they don't understand what's going on in egypt? >> i accept the anxiety. i accept being pushed to do better. but i disagree with the narrative, frankly. >> charlie: there's also an advisor to morsi who had a long meeting with president obama. he's now in an egyptian jail.
>> if you're accused of a crime in egypt, you are put in jail. having visited our president, the president of a western country or north american country does not give you immunity from the law. >> charlie: was his case raised by anyone in washington? >> not specifically. and i have to say that the real issues raised in washington were the two cases that you mentioned. >> charlie: right. because they were such large in number and so recently. >> charlie: the 500 and 600 later. >> yes, and i explained the details because they were not known. >> charlie: did you change their mind with the information or the understanding with what you brought? >> what i know i did because they came back and told me because they asked about the information. they did not know the facts and went to check them. >> charlie: that surprises me that they didn't know and worries me. >> my point is, we are going to
build a better country. as we do that, the progression will be upwards and we will stumble on to things because society is trying to define itself. we are not perfect, but we're going to do what we need to do. that's my argument. i never go around even with egyptians and say it's ideal. if it was, i would be sitting on the beach, enjoying myself. >> charlie: i have to raise the question of al-jazeera three. >> yes. >> charlie: we in the world of journalism are concerned about that. >> i understand that. >> charlie: and want to put it front and center, our colleagues. >> on that issue, and you haven't even do this in your system, our president sent letters to the families of two of the accused. >> charlie: i'm aware of that. because, even though he's a judge, he wanted to assure them, one, that there would be due process. he said he couldn't intercede in
the process. but let me add a piece of information which is context and which is why i love coming on your show, there hasn't been a single case since then. this case is valid, it will be decided by the courts, i have no comment on the substance of it. but there hasn't been a single case by then. >> charlie: why is that? because there's clearly a determination by the government to try to ensure that unless there is real direct evidence for a criminal offense, try to give journalists as much space as you can. as a government, we issued a statement from the cabinet saying that we guarantee security and protection for our foreign journalists and we will allow them to do their work professionally. we just simply ask them, please go and get your journalistic passes so that when you're pursuing your profession and
you're in the middle of a demonstration here or there and the policeman addresses you, you have -- let's try to move forward and do better. i tell you if a journalist commits a crime, he doesn't have immunity. >> charlie: i don't think journalists ask for immunity if they commit a crime. >> that's my point. that's why i'm being candid. >> charlie: many brave people who don't sit at a comfortable desk in new york city and risk their lives and face these kinds of things. >> i appreciate that. that's why i'm saying we have bent over backwards to ensure, one, these things don't happen and as far as we can ensure that they don't and that you can work securely and safely because you have to be in difficult situations to cover the news. >> charlie: syria, where do you think syria is today? >> i think it's a political nightmare, and i think it's a no man's land, but we can't afford
to leave it a no man's land for too long because the implications on all of the border states is -- >> charlie: i just talked to the prime minister of turkey on friday. it's a huge issue for them. >> it is for all of us. >> charlie: same thing true for jordan and lebanon. >> and it will go all the way down. >> charlie: and a huge issue for the people who are refugees and the people in syria who are running because they fear -- >> i will discuss it with secretary kerry, with secretary moon. >> charlie: what's the answer. a geopolitical solution. >> charlie: what would be the means of a geopolitical solution? >> very difficult but it has to include russia, america and ukraine -- that's difficult at this point. it has to include the arab and
non-arab parties. >> charlie: in other words, iran? >> iran and some of the major arab players. >> charlie: some big meeting? evolution of policy and then a meeting. >> charlie: and what's the evolution of policy? >> well, we need to find a way to get the -- to go back with the americans and russians to where they were at the beginning of the process and we need to find a way for arabs and persias and iranians to deal with each other's concerns so we can work on this issue. i mean, politics and then the meeting. if we just have a meeting, we've had a meeting. let's talk strategically. what are iran's interests in the middle east? what are the gulf's interests and egypt's interests in the middle east. >> charlie: what are russia's interests -- >> work on that and --
>> charlie: assad consolidated power? a new presidential election in june? he's made gains with the help of the iranians and with the help of hezbollah? >> i think that's the conventional wisdom of the day. i don't think anybody still has conclusive force or exclusive authority. >> charlie: do you fear the groups that have joined the ranks of the rebels? you have been talking about terrorism. >> i dread them. i mean, fear is -- >> charlie: somehow they could gain control of a state and make it a safe haven for terrorism or a rogue state? >> that's parto it. the other part is they would end up dividing the state's tehrikly or ethnically and would spill over throughout the region. i would add, seeing syria and seeing part of it in libya doesn't allow us to sleep at night. >> charlie: you were going to
mention the april 6 movement in terms of the people we thought were the good guys. why are they under attack? >> the tensions on the street raises questions about what motivations are, this and that. we have arguments about this every day that are -- and we become not like you but, i mean, in the same trend a litigious society. people raise id in the courts and then you have this whole process. i concur the next egyptian president will have to bring people together politically over anand above. >> charlie: what are you worried about most? >> time. >> charlie: you don't have time to do what's necessary? >> mm-hmm. i have children and grandchildren. i want to leave them a democratic state, and we don't
have that much time to do it. we also face -- as we try to do that, the people i mentioned of the society, people in the street, you mentioned the poverty issues, i need to grow, charlie, 10% a year for the next ten years. i can't depend on the next leader. i can't grow that way without security and tolerance among egyptians. >> charlie: without bringing them together. >> without saying egypt is a good nation and jordan and so on, so my whole region is a mess. but i come from a generation that did not leave the country with a democracy. but we have a second chance. i'm not going to miss it. >> charlie: and when you ask
yourself why we missed it the first time, what's your answer? >> many, many different reasons. initially with the '52 revolution -- >> charlie: he had his own problems with the brotherhood. >> sure. he had a good social contract. things were working well but didn't evolve politically at the same time. so it goes to your point earlier, you can't argue tolerance and not security, or security and not tolerance, growth without private sector or growth without public sector. you need to do all these together. secondly, frankly, and i'll fall back on a question i was asked by an egyptian journalist when i just came back from washington. we need to have -- she asked me, if i could change one provision in our old constitution, what would it be?
and i said, you can't change one provision, you need to change the whole constitution. he said i don't want diplomatic language, i don't want -- give me an answer, one provision. i said, term limits. term limits. if that's the only thing, if we had that, every egyptian would have known he has a choice in defining his leader, determining his leader and holding him accountable, and every egyptian leader would have known he's accountable in four years or eight years or 12 years. that creates a momentum in your system that you know your boss is going to be judged and you're going to be judged and the guy underneath you will be judged, so it creates checks and balances. now, i am seriously proud of this constitution. >> charlie: on term limits?
i think it's two terms. but, again, read the civil liberties portion. it's astonishing. it is truly astonishing. no difference between any egyptian whatsoever on any basis. but fa is the time to translate that into -- but now is the time to translate that into action and move into pluralistic democracy. >> charlie: is it different to make the arguments about what's going on in egypt today? are you totally 100% believe it is as you describe it? >> i will never say anything i don't believe in. the point is that i don't argue that it's perfect. i don't argue that. all i'm arguing, and that's why i'm a believer, is we're on track, we want to do this, it takes time. if you don't want to give me time, we won't succeed, but we
will do it anyway because i feed it for my own people. but i never said nor will i say until we finish that it's done now and there have not been any mistakes. >> charlie: suppose i am a young egyptian, a member of the muslim brotherhood, and i look at what's happening today, what's my confidence in the egypt i want to see? >> the confidence only build with time, and the confidence of this street towards this young muslim brotherhood youngster will only come with time. that's the first issue. the tension is there. they don't believe each other. more importantly, if this young leader or young muslim brotherhood youth agrees he's an egyptian first and muslim brotherhood second, he will find everything he needs in the constitution. our president who is "an interim
president" but he's a full-fledged president has said, believe in the constitution, be peaceful, you have your place. but the constitution means egypt first. >> charlie: your membership as a muslim brotherhood member will not restrict your participation in anything? >> well, now because of the violence, as an organization, it would. but as an individual it doesn't. >> charlie: are you saying to the young member to have the muslim brotherhood, your organization has been declared a terrorist organization so, therefore, if you continue to believe -- >> well, sure. i said openly, the muslim brotherhood ideology is exclusive, so it's problematic. so besides that the violence is the issue. >> charlie: what makes you confident about former field marshal el-sisi who most
believe he will be elected the next president because he's very popular because the i'm of egypt seem from a distance to desperately want a sense of order and democracy and moving forward? >> well, first all, i actually went to the other candidate and said you have guts and i applaud you, and he laughed. i said, i'm serious. i applaud you because egyptians need to see the competition. that's the first point, i think he needs to be given credit for participating in the process even if the possibility is -- >> charlie: he's run before. yes. he's not a show-in, but no question el-sisi is most
popular. the field marshal, i worked with him in the cabinet, the guy is serious, he has a focus, he is a detailed person, very nationalistic in terms of where he'd like egypt -- and he's very proud as an egyptian. all of these are good, professional attributes from seven months of working together. >> charlie: how committed is he to democracy? >> i'm going to get that. thirdly, i would add to that. she a strategic thinker. he likes to define things. >> charlie: and he was made field marshal by president morsey, was he not? >> i think, yes. but on the question which you're asking, the next egyptian president will learn how to be democratic. he has 35% fewer powers in the constitution than the present one.
he does not have authority without consulting the prime minister. he's going to learn. secondly, my kids and my grandchildren, the kids more than the grandchildren, they accept me as a father. they don't accept that i have the whole truth, and they won't accept it from anybody. but it's going to be a challenge for field marshal or anyone how do they package the elements. am i confident they will succeed in i am not confident they will succeed short term. i'm confident they will succeed long term because to have the checks and balances within the constitution and the population
will keep them there but it's going to be a challenge. >> charlie: you had a wide experience not only as a depp mat but also didn't you resign to become a politician? did you suspend that when you became a member of the government, a foreign minister? your dad was the foreign minister for sadat. >> mm-hmm. >> charlie: does egypt need a sadat, someone who thought big? >> definitely, someone who thought big and looked down. thought big and looked down. >> charlie: what does that mean? >> keep your feet on the ground. there are real issues on the ground. real challenges day to day. >> charlie: and real threats, too. >> exactly. being a visionary is great because we need direction, but you need to deliver the goods. since you mentioned that era, i just came to you from dr. kissinger and we reminisced
about that. we need a leader that has vision and that has the wisdom to understand this is going to be a democratic process. you're not going to be the sole leader any longer. so learn how to do this. >> charlie: i'm neither a philosopher nor a statesman, but i do think there's a sense that -- you've talked a lot about the future. you've talked a lot about the end. you have to be very wise about making sure that you've not simply committed to the idea that the ends justify the means. >> no, i do not believe in that. i don't believe in that. that's ultimately the road down to authoritarianism. >> charlie: right. but those who oppose what's happening, you have to understand that violence will never get them a role in politics.
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